NRG matters — UK to extend energy price cap; Rotterdam port triples hydrogen deliveries forecast

NRG matters — UK to extend energy price cap; Rotterdam port triples hydrogen deliveries forecast
Europe’s Rotterdam port has raised the amount of hydrogen it will be able to deliver by 2030. (Stock image: Shutterstock)
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Updated 11 May 2022

NRG matters — UK to extend energy price cap; Rotterdam port triples hydrogen deliveries forecast

NRG matters — UK to extend energy price cap; Rotterdam port triples hydrogen deliveries forecast
  • German luxury vehicles company BMW AG has announced that it will be switching to lower cost batteries for its new electric vehicle platform

RIYADH: The UK is planning on extending the price cap for energy bills to help households deal with rising energy costs. Meanwhile, Spanish wind farms and sun-powered plants have accounted for a record percentage of the electricity generation during last month. 

Europe’s Rotterdam port has raised the amount of hydrogen it will be able to deliver by 2030, and BMW has plans to switch to low-cost batteries amid increasing raw materials prices.

Looking at the bigger picture: 

·The UK has announced that it will extend its price cap for energy bills beyond 2023, in an attempt to cushion 22 million homes from rallying prices, Bloomberg reported. 

This move, which is part of the government’s Energy Security Bill, aims to pave the way for carbon neutrality in the country, while keeping energy affordable for consumers. 

·Spanish wind farms and solar power plants accounted for a record 40 percent of the European country’s electricity grid during the month of April, amid high wind, as well as an increase in installed capacity.

While wind farms supplied as much as 26.2 percent of the country’s electricity, solar-powered plants supplied up to 14.1 percent, Reuters reported citing environmental non-profit think tank Ember Climate.

·North China liquified natural gas imports are forecasted to plunge 45 percent through the month of August, amid virus restrictions and soaring prices, Bloomberg reported. 

Through a micro lens: 

·Europe's largest seaport, Rotterdam port, has tripled its forecast for the amount of hydrogen it will be able to transport to northwest Europe per year by 2030, Reuters reported. 

Given the ongoing plans and projects by firms in the port area and exporting countries, the port will be able to deliver up to 4.6 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2030.

·German luxury vehicles company BMW AG has announced that it will be switching to lower cost batteries for its new electric vehicle platform, delivering a 30 percent drop in costs in the process, Bloomberg reported, citing individuals familiar with the plans.

This comes as carmakers worldwide struggle to combat soaring raw materials costs.


NEOM Airlines set for take-off by end of 2024, CEO reveals

NEOM Airlines set for take-off by end of 2024, CEO reveals
Updated 10 sec ago

NEOM Airlines set for take-off by end of 2024, CEO reveals

NEOM Airlines set for take-off by end of 2024, CEO reveals

RIYADH: A dedicated airline for Saudi Arabia’s futuristic city NEOM will take to the skies by the end of 2024, the carrier’s CEO has revealed.

Writing in a blog post, Klaus Goersch set out an ambitious vision for NEOM Airlines, promising that passengers will receive “a completely different travel experience”.

Goersch, who has previously served as chief operating officer of British Airways and Air Canada, argued the new service will be “futuristic and efficient”, adding: “I can honestly say the opportunity here is way beyond anything else out there.”

The development of the airline comes as Saudi Arabia seeks to boost its aviation sector, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier this month announcing a new carrier, Riyadh Air, which will benefit from a $37 billion aircraft deal with US firm Boeing.

In his blog post, Goersch painted his vision for NEOM Airlines as he set out the “new future” for air travel.

He said: “Just imagine if your bags were collected from your home or office and delivered to the hotel or residence you were going to. 

“Imagine if biometrics were advanced enough to recognize you via facial recognition as soon as you walked in a building, security clearing you for travel without the need for even going through a gate – let alone having to bother with a visa. 

“And just imagine the time of your meeting changed by a few hours and you were able to change your flight to a later one, without hassle or cost. 

“Better still, imagine you are collecting loyalty points at the airport – where the whole place is lounge-style service – as well as while flying and when using the facilities in your destination, because everything is owned by the same company.”

Goersch went on to say the airline will initially retrofit existing aircraft in order to get the carrier up and running, before shifting to new planes. 

“Come 2026 onwards, there will be new innovative aircraft – whether it be electric, hydrogen-powered or supersonic – and next-generation interiors coming online from us. We are already in discussions with plane, interior and seat manufacturers,” he wrote.

In keeping with NEOM’s pledge to be environmentally-friendly Goersch said the airline’s ambition is for every flight to have “ some sustainable fuel onboard” originating from mixing facilities at NEOM. 

He added: “Sustainability will even stretch into the catering, with foods sourced locally from here and delivered via on-demand dining at a time when you actually feel like eating. 

“We will look at every single component right down to the carpets and single-use plastics. 

“Little things like this will accumulate and add up to more than the sum of their parts.”

The $500 billion NEOM megaproject is set to transform the Kingdom’s northwest Red Sea coast to a high-tech hub.


Oil Updates - Prices fall as US holds off refilling strategic reserve

Oil Updates - Prices fall as US holds off refilling strategic reserve
Updated 24 March 2023

Oil Updates - Prices fall as US holds off refilling strategic reserve

Oil Updates - Prices fall as US holds off refilling strategic reserve

TOKYO: Oil prices extended losses on Friday on worries about a potential oversupply after US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said refilling the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve may take several years, according to Reuters.

Brent crude fell 24 cents, or 0.32 percent, to $75.67 a barrel by 0412 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped 24 cents, 0.34 percent, to $69.72 a barrel.

Both benchmarks, which fell about 1 percent on Thursday, were still on track for a weekly gain of about 3 percent-4 percent, recovering from their biggest weekly declines in months last week due to the banking sector crisis and worries about a possible recession.

“There is a sell-off from the view that the United States will not refill oil reserve even if the WTI prices are at $67-$72 a barrel,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities.

The White House said in October it would buy back oil for the SPR when prices were at or below about $67-$72 per barrel.

Granholm told lawmakers that it would be difficult to take advantage of the low prices this year to add to stockpiles, which are currently at their lowest level since 1983 following sales directed by President Joe Biden last year.

Nissan Securities’ Kikukawa said continued crude supply from Russia to the global market was also weighing on oil which, together with a lingering anxiety about the banking sector, could push benchmarks to test their lows hit earlier this week.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said a previously announced cut of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in Russia’s oil production would be from an output level of 10.2 million bpd in February, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

That would mean Russia is aiming to produce 9.7 million bpd between March and June, when the production cut will be in force, according to Novak — a much smaller reduction in output than Moscow previously indicated.

The oil price downside was, however, cushioned by strong demand expectations from China, with Goldman Sachs saying commodities demand was surging in China, the world’s biggest oil importer, with oil demand topping 16 million bpd.

The bank forecast Brent would reach $97 a barrel in the second quarter of 2024.

A more than 1 percent decline in the dollar in the past week, which makes commodities priced in the greenback cheaper for holders of other currencies, capped downside price pressures. 


Scandal-plagued Japan tech giant Toshiba gets tender offer

Scandal-plagued Japan tech giant Toshiba gets tender offer
Updated 24 March 2023

Scandal-plagued Japan tech giant Toshiba gets tender offer

Scandal-plagued Japan tech giant Toshiba gets tender offer
  • Toshiba's deep troubles began with a sprawling accounting scandal in 2015, involving books being doctored for years
  • Its US nuclear arm Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in 2017, after years of deep losses as safety costs soared

TOKYO: Scandal-embattled Japanese electronics and technology manufacturer Toshiba has accepted a 2 trillion yen ($15 billion) tender offer from Japan Industrial Partners, a buyout fund made up of the nation’s major banks and companies.
If the proposal succeeds, it will be a major step in Toshiba’s yearslong turnaround effort, allowing it to go private and delist from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. But overseas activist investors own a significant part of Toshiba’s shares, and it’s unclear if they will be happy with the latest bid.
Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. announced its board accepted the bid at 4,620 yen ($36) a share late Thursday. Toshiba closed at 4,213 yen ($32) a share Thursday, and is trading at 4,474 yen ($34) early Friday. The offer was announced after trading closed in Tokyo.
The move comes while the world’s financial sector is in turmoil over the ripple effects from the recent collapse of banks in the US
The critical point is that the latest offer, if successful, will keep Toshiba’s business Japanese in an alliance with Japanese partners.
Japan Industrial Partners, set up in 2002 to restructure Japanese companies, lists big names among where it has invested, such as Sony, Hitachi, Olympus and NEC.
The consortium includes about 20 Japanese companies, such as Orix Corp., a financial services company, electronics manufacturer Rohm Co. and the megabanks such as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., according to Japanese media reports.
The deep troubles at Toshiba began with a sprawling accounting scandal in 2015, involving books being doctored for years. That added to its woes related to its nuclear energy business.
Its US nuclear arm Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in 2017, after years of deep losses as safety costs soared. Toshiba is also involved in the decommissioning effort at the Fukushima nuclear plant heavily damaged by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Toshiba has gone through several presidents over the years, as the brand once prized for making household appliances, laptops, batteries and computer chips, became the target of overseas activist shareholders.
The latest proposal still needs to go through regulatory reviews in several countries, including the US, Vietnam, Germany and Morocco. The process is expected to take several months.
Toshiba has been trying to go private in recent years. Proposals to split Toshiba into three, and then two, companies were rejected by shareholders. Delisting will allow Toshiba to leave behind the activist investors.
Toshiba had its humble beginnings in a telegraph equipment factory in 1875. The brand had been synonymous with the power of modern Japan’s manufacturing sector. It has sold parts of its operations, including its flash-memory business, now known as Kioxia, although Toshiba remains a stakeholder in Kioxia.
Whether Toshiba can get back on a solid growth track remains uncertain. Last month, Toshiba lowered its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March to 130 billion yen ($1 billion), down from an earlier projection for a 190 billion yen ($1.5 billion) profit.
 


US Commerce Department adds 14 Chinese firms to red flag list

US Commerce Department adds 14 Chinese firms to red flag list
Updated 24 March 2023

US Commerce Department adds 14 Chinese firms to red flag list

US Commerce Department adds 14 Chinese firms to red flag list
  • Chinese Embassy accuses US of abusing export control measures and using state power to suppress and contain foreign companies

WASHINGTON: The Biden administration on Thursday added 14 Chinese companies to a red flag list, forcing US exporters to conduct greater due diligence before shipping goods to them because US officials have been unable to inspect the listed entities.
Being added to the list can potentially start a 60-day clock that could trigger much tougher penalties.
“Enforcing our export controls is a crucial part of protecting American national security,” US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said in a statement following the announcement. “We are committed to using all of the tools at our disposal to establish how advanced US technology is being used around the globe.”
ECOM International and HK P&W Industry Co. Ltd. were among those added to the list and did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said “China strongly deplores and firmly opposes” moves by the United States to “abuse export control measures” and use “state power to suppress and contain foreign companies.”
“The US side should immediately stop its wrong practices. China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” the spokesperson added.
The United States has used restrictions on exports of US goods as a key tool to thwart Beijing’s technological advances, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries.

 


Fed comments, US crude stock build hit oil market

Fed comments, US crude stock build hit oil market
Updated 23 March 2023

Fed comments, US crude stock build hit oil market

Fed comments, US crude stock build hit oil market

LONDON: Oil prices dipped on Thursday, having hit their lowest since late 2021 earlier this week, after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell highlighted banking sector credit risks for the world’s largest economy, while US crude stockpiles swelled.

Brent crude futures were down 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $76.15 a barrel at 0929 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 62 cents, or 0.9%, to $70.28.

Powell said on Wednesday that banking industry stress could trigger a credit crunch, with “significant” implications for an economy that US central bank officials projected would slow even more this year than previously thought.

HIGHLIGHTS

Goldman Sachs said on Thursday that demand from China continued to surge across the commodity complex, with oil demand topping 16 million barrels per day.

The bank forecast Brent to reach $97 a barrel in the second quarter of 2024.

US crude oil stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week to their highest in nearly two years, latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed.

Crude inventories rose in the week to March 17 by 1.1 million barrels to 481.2 million barrels, the highest since May 2021. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected a 1.6-million-barrel drop.

The dollar slid to a seven-week low against a basket of other currencies, providing a price floor for oil as a weaker greenback makes oil cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Also supportive, Goldman Sachs said on Thursday that demand from China, the world’s biggest oil importer, continued to surge across the commodity complex, with oil demand topping 16 million barrels per day.

The bank forecast Brent to reach $97 a barrel in the second quarter of 2024.